James 2:10 - 12
ESV - 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.
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Those who were under Mosaic law (Jews) were to obey the whole law. If they broke any part of the law it was as if they had broken the whole law. The purpose of the law was to show Israel (and all humanity) that they/we are incapable of keeping it in its entirety, and therefore need a redeemer (Jesus Christ) who is the only one who could keep it completely. Christ fulfilled the law for Israel, and paved the way for us to salvation through His blood on the cross. Gal 3:10-14 "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."
James here is talking about the Ten Commandments (TC) and the importance of being obedient to God's law - not only the commandments we like but all ten of them. And we know that James is referring to the TC because he quotes two of them – the 7th and the 6th (Ex 20:13, 14; James 2:10-12). His point is that if we break any of the ten, we become transgressors (sinners) in need of repentance and forgiveness. Some have argued that the TC are no longer relevant for the NT Christian and that being obedient to God’s law is legalism. James begs to differ and just like Paul and John, emphasizes that one day all of us will appear before the throne of judgment to answer for our conduct according to the TC or the “law of liberty”, as James calls it (James 2:12; 2 Cor 5:10; Rev 20:12).
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